What will the FM trends of 2020 be? Herpreet Kaur Grewal finds out.
03 February 2020 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
A number of organisations released reports about forthcoming trends in facilities management as the year began.
The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated has published its annual predictions of the top trends that will affect the global workforce in the coming year.
These include a greater emphasis on worker wellbeing and paid time off work.
Kronos says employee wellness is set to take "centre stage as total rewards strategies drive recruitment and retention in a tight economy".
Competition to attract and retain top talent - both for office and frontline workers - will further compel employers to expand and innovate total rewards packages that support employees within and outside the workplace, it adds.
There will also be more of a spotlight on mental health, financial wellness, childcare, shifts that work for all, and an individual's sense of meaning at work as Generation Z floods the workforce.
Increasingly common natural disasters and crises will challenge employers to prepare and respond with efficiency and compassion. As employees continue to expect more from their employers, organisations that take an active, equitable and inclusive approach to supporting the entire individual should reap gains in productivity, engagement and loyalty, says the report.
Another tipped trend is the increase of regulating paid time off, family leave, and income stability with governments and employers alike facing increased pressure to provide a multigenerational workforce with schedule flexibility, paid leave, and stable living wages.
The institute also foresees that employers must determine how they will manage controversial and potentially divisive dynamics in the workplace as "employee activism and looming political elections worldwide will challenge even the strongest corporate cultures".
It also says organisations must learn to broaden traditional talent pools to attract workers, including recruiting services veterans, people with disabilities, retirees, gig or contract workers, second-chance workers, and candidates with tangentially relevant skills.
Practical AI uses and access to data will narrow the chasm between the HR 'haves' and 'have-nots' too, says the institute. 'The haves' - which tend to be larger, sophisticated organisations - are experimenting with emerging technologies in advanced ways as many 'have-nots' drown in manual work, unable to consider the future of work automation. In 2020, this chasm could narrow for organisations that choose to modernise their workforce solutions and processes with a strong change management strategy.
Aramark predicts that there will be a greater prevalence of facilities management joining forces with IT. It states that this is inevitable because technology is changing how facilities are managed.
Through digitisation, wireless communication and sensors, almost every component of a facility can now be monitored constantly. The data created by such technology is "a game changer" for decision-making, therefore managing facilities will become less physical and more digital.
- Trend 2: Buildings must become revenue generators
As an extension of shrinking space needs, organisations will seek ways to monetise their unused facilities. For most, razing unneeded space, or at best, decommissioning it, are not desired or easily executable options. Turning these assets into revenue generators will be essential.
- Trend 3: 'Keep-up' strategies will receive renewed investment to guard against deferred maintenance
More recently, organisations have targeted new sources of capital funding to 'catch up' with their backlog. Energy performance contracts, P3 partnerships and the emergence of energy infrastructure and asset monetisation structures are popular ways to secure needed capital.
- Trend 4: Preventive maintenance becomes obsolete as predictive maintenance drives operations
With sensor technology growing, the ability to monitor almost any component of a facility becomes expected. Such information will allow organisations to migrate away from traditional time-based preventive maintenance measures towards real-time, data-driven actions that predict when maintenance is needed. As sensors become ubiquitous, managers and owners will always know the status of their assets. Daily management will become less about knowing which assets are on a cycle for attention and more about which are nearing failure.
- Trend 5: Connected devices improve efficiency and reduce costs
Just as homeowners can remotely monitor and schedule their heating, air conditioning, lighting, security and more, remote monitoring with connected devices is increasingly being used to manage facilities operations, saving businesses significant time and resources.
- Trend 6: Data analytics is a required FM skill set
Aramark believes that facilities will reach an inflection point where they migrate from "resource takers" to "data makers". No industry is primed to generate more data and information than facilities. Traditionally seen as an expense - one that requires extensive labour and materials to maintain - facilities will now be seen as providing a wealth of information about asset stewardship, user behaviour, cost, and even an organisation's brand.
- Trend 7: Greater focus on energy management
Technology has made it possible to monitor and manage energy use. IoT sensors allow for real-time tracking, while intelligent building systems allow facilities managers to proactively adjust consumption. Thanks to artificial intelligence, the most advanced building systems can even predict use based on historical data and make adjustments accordingly.